Charleston, WV – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement on the announcement the state of West Virginia has been approved for a $68,269,946 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to allow West Virginia to provide $300 per week in unemployment benefits – in additional to their regular benefits – to those unemployed due to COVID-19.
“This pandemic has had devastating impacts on West Virginia families. I’m hopeful that this funding will make it to the people that are struggling to make ends meet through no fault of their own. But make no mistake – in the middle of hurricane season that has already proven deadly and destructive, this funding is coming from the FEMA disaster relief fund. In West Virginia, FEMA has a terrible track record of getting aid to victims of the 2016 flood. We still have schools operating out of trailers and families awaiting FEMA assistance. Given their past performance, I am concerned FEMA is entirely unprepared to effectively execute this entirely new relief program with the speed and efficiency that our struggling families need and deserve. And West Virginians simply can’t wait four years for FEMA to figure out how to distribute unemployment assistance they need today.
“It doesn’t have to be like this. Mitch McConnell sent Congress home instead of working on COVID relief legislation to address the needs of West Virginians. I’m ready to vote on a real relief package that takes care of hard working Americans.”